More than 1,000 area fourth-graders from eleven local schools will be given Norway Spruce trees (photo) to be planted in honor of Arbor Day event, courtesy of Kankakee Valley REMC.
“We distribute the trees for two reasons,” explains Kankakee Valley REMC CEO Dennis Weiss. “First, it’s a great chance to share our appreciation for our environment and the need to protect natural resources. Trees keep our air clean by removing carbon dioxide and generating fresh oxygen, and they can help homeowners lower cooling bills by providing shade. The second reason we participate is that it’s an opportunity to increase the students’ awareness of safety around outdoor electrical equipment.”
(Darrell Marks, Energy Advisor for Kankakee Valley REMC, discusses tree planting safety with the 4th grade students at Morgan Township Elementary School.)
Darrell Marks, REMC's Energy Advisor says before the trees are handed out, a brief discussion about the proper and safe planting locations for their trees will help kids understand the importance of being aware of power lines overhead as well as lines that may be buried underground. Marks also says, later, the students learn that their trees, "will be as tall as power lines" with roots reaching deep under the soil. Our hope is that the students will share the information with their families.” Along with the safety discussion, Marks also demonstrates the electrical locating device used by the cooperative to locate underground electric lines, which students might see being used when they call 811 before digging a hole for their tree.
The local tree giveaway, which is held in conjunction with the nationwide Fourth Grade Foresters USA program, is completely funded by Kankakee Valley REMC. Each of the participating fourth-graders will receive an individually packaged Norway Spruce seedling that’s at least one foot tall, along with instructions for safe planting. Since 2007, more than 505,000 fourth-graders across the nation have planted trees as part of this Arbor Day event. Since Kankakee Valley REMC started their Arbor Day program, they have distributed and funded more than 3,175 trees to students.
Kankakee Valley REMC, located in Wanatah, Indiana is a member-owned rural electric cooperative serving approximately 18,000 members throughout Starke, Pulaski, Porter, Lake, Marshall, St. Joseph and LaPorte County.
(photos/Kankakee Valley REMC)